Thursday, February 20, 2014

Writing without a net: My fandoms

Ok, ok.  I'll be the first one to tell you that I *hate* the term "fandom".  I equate it with a community of people who, more often than not, post creepy paparazzi pictures of celebrities, bitch about famous people's spouses/kiddos, and generally obsess over crotch/ass shots of literally the most random people.  Seriously.  Go to Tumblr and type "emercrotch" in the search bar.  Don't say I didn't warn you.  (Also, full disclosure: I discovered that one by accident.  As much as I love Michael Emerson, five thousand gifs speculating about his junk really don't do it for me.)

That said, there really isn't another term sufficient to describe the worlds I inhabit when I write.  Or, in the case of Rammstein... I don't write at all, but I sure do love those sexy German boys.

In any case, I write a lot of fanfiction.  Mostly because I love to put people in petri dishes and poke them to see what they'll do.  Partly because I'm too lazy to flesh out a world of my own, with dozens if not hundreds of three-dimensional characters and compelling storylines.  (I did start writing a work of original fiction once, and it was actually pretty satisfying, but I was in an emotional trainwreck at the time, so who knows what would have come of it.)

To date: I've written stories for:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (yes, really.)
The Dark Knight
Star Trek (The reboot universe)
The Phantom of the Opera (I waited a LONG time to go down this road.  For obvious reasons.)
Person of Interest

...The first story I ever wrote was for Harry Potter.  I was 15 and it's actually where my name (Raven W. Catz) came from.  ...I also did start a Stargate SG-1/MacGyver crossover story that could have been really fucking phenomenal if I hadn't been 18 at the time.  My writing's improved substantially since 2004, I assure you.

None of them have ever been finished, although I did write Ornithology (the Person of Interest 'fic) a satisfying, episodic conclusion.  It continues after that point, but if I had chosen to, I could have ended it and it would have tied up quite nicely.

I write them for a lot of reasons, really.  Not just because I like torturing fictional people, and not just because I'm too lazy to create something of my own making.  I find other people's fanfiction to be sorely unsatisfying, if not for a very few exceptions.  (I have a few recommendations, should you be so inclined) Granted, I accept the fact that a lot of fanfiction is written by people like I was when I first started writing and archiving my work... 16-18, hormonal, experiencing that last great fictional love before reality takes hold.
To add to that, few people actually write the pairings I do (Full disclosure: these usually involve an original character of some sort.  I like canon too much to fuck around with too many people's lives at once).  Take Ben for instance.  There are almost 10 thousand LOST fanfics on  87 of them pair Ben with someone.  About 80 of them pair Ben with Juliet or Annie.  That leaves me 7.  I've read them.  They suck.

The problem I find I encounter again and again is this:  Writer X likes Character Y (we'll simplify this and just use Ben.  Less letters.)  But Writer X likes Ben because she's 18, hormonal, and baffled by her attraction to someone who is simultaneously 50 years old and the villain.  (Ben's not the villain, but we're going for simple here, dammit.)  She's kind of put off by his personality (and probably his face, too, but that's really just a defense mechanism because she doesn't want her mother to tease her about crushing on someone so damn weird looking.  Oh god, now Megan's projecting again.), but she REALLY wants the satisfying conclusion of carting him off (kicking and screaming) to marry her OC (who looks JUST LIKE HER, and maybe somehow fell through a poster of Hawaii... Or can see the future.  I've read stories just like this, I swear to god.), so she sort of takes his face and pastes it on... basically a tree stump, because people are totally interchangable.  Ben becomes indistinguishable from Jack, Jack from Horace, Horace from Richard.  And somehow Kate and Claire and Juliet disappear or become heinous bitches who are all secretly in love with Ben, because EVERYONE is secretly in love with Ben... right?  Even Tom.  (Jesus Christ, Megan.)

(For the record, this is pretty much what I imagine these people are doing to my poor Ben.  He's had enough of this already in canon, they don't need to do it to his personality.)

The assumption that people and personalities are so mutable and interchangable INFURIATES me.  It shouldn't.  It's a naive assumption made by a kid.  I probably made the same assumptions once.  Except I don't think I did.  And I certainly never assumed that I'd get to The Island by tearing my way through the ads for Hawaii in the red line stations this winter.

I will concede one thing though.  I am guilty of a hefty amount of self-insertion in my own writing.  It's not that I need my characters to look JUST LIKE ME (although Katherine Corvis does, in fact, look just like me), it's that writing about bumbling, clumsy, extremely intelligent, awkward, defensive women who just happen to be in a variety of creative professions comes pretty naturally to a bumbling, clumsy, extremely intelligent, awkward, defensive woman who just happens to work in a variety of creative professions. 

I will very likely post segments of my writing here from time to time.  But until that happens, please visit me here to check out my stories. 

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